Monday, May 30, 2016

Day In The Life Of A WWII Soldier

My Dad served in WWII..The Third Armored "Spearhead" Division.  My Mom had my sister email me the letters he wrote home during his time in the Army.  I've been reading them and retyping them and hopefully will get them put into a book so they can be shared with our family.  They aren't worthy of a war movie to made about Dad..although he was handsome enough to star in one, but just having a tidbit of his time and his feelings as he fought overseas.  I wanted to share one on this Memorial Day of remembering.  He was fortunate as he made it home.  Made it home to marry my Mom, have 6 kids, build his own house and fill it with a lifetime of love, laughter, and good memories. Truly making it a home.  My Mom still lives in that same house.  Dad passed away in 1976...40 years ago this November.  Hard to believe as he's always in my heart and mind daily.  Here's his letter:

February 12, 1945

Dearest Mary,
      I passed up my chance to write yesterday but I am trying to make up for it tonight.
Mail has been pretty scarce here of late but I suppose I can't complain as I do not write very much myself.  At times you would be surprised what a change in mood a letter can make...or would you?
       I don't know why it is but here lately I have been thinking and wondering more and more about you and I and what we are going to do after this war is all washed up.
In magazines I manage to pick up here and there, I read all about the wonderful things they have planned for us after the war.  How changed things will be.  But do we want them changed?  I am sort of tired of the pattern people have fashioned my life to.  Why can't we have our own design?  I have come to realize that the most wonderful part of life is in making your own decisions and living them without regrets.
      Anyway, I've been wondering a lot about other things too.  After sweating this one out I've been wondering if it's  Occupation, China, or somewhere in the Pacific, or home. 
      I'd like to go home naturally, but there's a time element.  I wonder if I've been here long enough.  I know I've been in the Army long enough.  Three years now.  It doesn't seem that long does it?
      Well I guess I'll have to go now. I've got a little job to do tonight so until next time,
                                          Love as always,

Thanks Dad and my brothers who served in Vietnam and all who have served and gave the ultimate sacrifice.  True Heroes all!  God Bless America!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Momentous Moments

We attended our Granddaughter's graduation today.  The speaker used the term, "momentous moments",  in reference to the things that happened in the lives of the graduates.  Things like birth, first steps, first words, first day of school, etc.  Having gone through those in my own life and then my children's lives and now in my Grandchildren's lives it can make a person wonder where the time has gone, and how it just keeps circling and repeating itself.  It's different each time though isn't it.  When it was our time we saw it from our perspective, more self involved.  When it was our children's events, we saw it as proud, nervous, hopeful parents.  I find that I view these events in my Grandkid's lives differently.  More mellow..or maybe more melancholy!  This is the second Grandchild to graduate high school.  The first time I kept shaking my head and couldn't believe I had one that old! I'm still shaking my head with the same thoughts...really? My little Summer...I've always called her "Summer Days" done with high school? Not only is she done with high school, she did her senior year at Ashland University and has completed her freshman year of college!  She graduated with a 3.8 average.  Throw in her artistic talent, fun personality, and beauty...the world is her oyster!  Yes I'm still proud, nervous, and very hopeful.  I look at my son and I'm so proud of the Dad he is and how wonderful those kids have  turned out.  I feel for him having to let go and watch as they do their own thing.  His oldest is moving to Florida in a few days and I know it's heavy on his heart and mind.  Summer is going to be closer to home as she's staying at Ashland University for her degree.  We wish you the best Summer Days...we love you! 
Happy Graduate!
Summer and Dad!
Summer and her boyfriend Brett.  They've dated for all of high school and we just love him!

Little brother Cameron is proud of his older sis too!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

One More Thought

There were many fun and sweet moments last weekend at Mom's. So I'll finalize my birthday post with these final thoughts.   My sister has little garden path that she calls her "journey garden."  It's paved with brick and lined with flowers, hostas, daylilies and many other plants.  She made a spot behind the garage that was not being used and made it peaceful and pretty and a place to go to contemplate life a bit.  There's  messages on the trees.
Messages like this one.  Also some stepping stones.
Some of the stones get leaned against a tree! 
This "gazing ball" is really Mom's old bowling ball!  Midge filled this space with meaningful items!  Mom and Dad were always on  bowling leagues and I remember this item very well!
When Midge saw this pic she decided she should put some window boxes on the garden shed so it's a bit prettier....that would be cute!  I found these little guys and had to make their Mom just a tiny bit mad for a minute.
Too big for the nest?
He was on the verge of jumping out and making his way in the world...good luck Mr. Robin!  My sis said the nest was empty by Monday afternoon.   One last tidbit from the weekend made me smile and it had to do with my Granddaughter, Addy.  She came up to me at the party and whispered: "YaYa, why is there a policeman here?"  I immediately said it was because she was so bad!  Her big brown eyes got even bigger but I also immediately assured her I was just kidding!  I then explained that her cousin Katie was a police officer and the man that stopped by was her partner.  I went with her to introduce her to Officer Val.  She was so excited to meet him and he is the nicest guy ever.  He gave her stickers and then asked if she would like to see the patrol car.  Boy was she excited!
He let her sit inside!  She was so impressed!  She fell madly in love with Officer Val!  One day she might recognized him as Santa who comes to our family Christmas gatherings...until then I hope she continues to idolize him as Officer Val.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Let Them Eat Cake

Eat cake we did! Happy 90th Birthday Mom! We went to Chicago this weekend to celebrate and gather as a huge family and lots of friends to honor my Mom's special day.  Not only cake was consumed but every food imaginable from chicken to cotton candy!
The tables were set.
The jumpie house ready...what, you don't think 90 year olds enjoy a good time jumping?
Popcorn, snowcones, and cotton candy machine all ready.
The best candy bar birthday card made for Mom by was a big hit. Mom couldn't wait to show it to everyone and read it.  Thanks so much Donna!
Cousins meeting up after a few years apart.  Picking up where they left off without missing a beat. (lft to rt...Jack, Craig, Bill)
All four of my brothers coming in from all over the map...well, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Florida! (from lft to rt..Ricky..the youngest, Jimmy #3, Greg #2, Phil #1...that's brother birth order, not ranking!)
Lots of twirling! My niece's daughter, Ella..or as we call her "Ella Bean".
We know that silly face...Jack!
Chubbs had to make friends with everyone.
Let's not forget our guest of honor....Mom!
You're never to old to eat cotton candy...
Or cake!
After you blow out the candles of course.
Open up a letter from the Pope and a special Rosary blessed by Him.  That was very special to Mom.
Lots of photos from Mom's life and the bouquets with pictures of her children (6), Grandchildren (16), and Great-Grandchilren (31..with 32nd one due in Sep!)
You might wonder why I put this photo in.  My brother got my Mom an apple tree for her birthday.  A strange gift? Not at all.  We always had apple trees.  Over the years they died due to storms and such.  My Mom makes the most delicious apple pie and what we call "apple slices"'s like pie only made in an 11x16 sheet pan.  Anyway, Rick thought this all out and picked out a Jonathon apple tree for a few reasons.  First, Jonathons are great for cooking.  Second, my Sister's youngest son, Jonothan, was killed in a car accident when he was 18 (in 2004).  So, to include him in Mom's celebration and to honor her baking skills and to replace the trees that were gone, he planted this tree.  The tree in the pic is leaning against the outdoor oven waiting to be planted.  When I looked at this shot, the sun was shining down right on it and it's encircled by a pink light.  Camera and lighting tricks....maybe...or maybe not.  Perfect gift.  The weekend was perfect from the weather, to the guests, to the family, to wonderful feeling of gathering and celebrating.  Every day is a gift and to have lived a life full of good days, sad days, incredible days, life changing days, and just plain ordinary days that make up an extraordinary life is amazing.  I have never won a lottery and probably never will.  But I did win the lottery of an awesome family...for that I'll always be grateful.  Love you Mom!
This was a long post so I'll leave with the thank you gifts for the guests...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Snow Way

I never thought I would be blogging about snow on May 15th.  This morning we had to go to Tallmadge (near Akron) for a Church conference.   On the way home it started to rain/snow.  If you blow up this pic I clicked with my phone you can see the white stuff against the red car. It didn't last long but it's been a chilly, wet weekend and I'm glad I pulled in some flowers I had planted in decorative planters for Mom's party next week. 
It cleared up this afternoon and I took a quick walk and thought I'd better capture what color we have since another 30de night is in store for us.
My only Azalea is looking good despite the chilly temps.
It contrasts nicely with the Dogwood, green hostas, and our white house.
These dogwoods are losing blossoms and getting the green on.
Snowball bushes (appropriate for the day).  They remind me of those coconut hostess cakes!
Put them together with the Azaleas and you have a nice bouquet.
 This guy was in my locker the other day..minus the flowers of course.  My coworker, Kim, gave him to me as a thank you for switching call. After planting him I do smile every time I see his "hat of petunias" !  Hopefully it will be able to be outdoors one of these days.  I'm sure he's thinking  "Whoooooo ordered this weather?"
All I can say is "Snow way, it wasn't me!"

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy Mother's Day And Happy Birthday Phil

I had a wonderful Mother's day yesterday.  3 of my 4 boys stopped over for lunch. I heard from Craig in Portland via phone and also a lovely gift in the mail on Friday. Thanks Craig and Amy! Sure wish you all could have been here.  Jordan said he was bringing food for a cookout and he even cooked it!
He's pretty handy on the grill!
Phil and Jackie sat around with us chatting and story times!
The food was super delish! Thanks Jord!
Chubbs loved the few tidbits  he managed to sneak away with....Eddy the Boxer was home with an eye problem.  He's doing fine but sometimes he manages to get too worked up and Jordan was afraid he'd hurt that eye.  Thanks boys for all the lovely gift cards to Southwest.  I'll put them to good use when we head out to Portland sometime this year. I also want to shout out to my lovely Mom.  I'm so grateful to still have her in my life and I love calling her and chatting and still getting advice when I need it.
I can't wait to see her and family in 2 weeks when we celebrate her 90th birthday!
I found this old pic of us sitting in her backyard...I'm betting she would love to be able to hunker down in the grass like that now! I know I'd love to be able to hunker down in my old "daisy dukes"! Ha! Happy Mother's Day Mom! You're the best!
Besides it being Mother's Day and all, I had the privilege of birthing a Mother's Day baby!  Happy Birthday Phil! You are a great kiddo and gave us tons of laughs and also a few gray hairs! You sure have grown up to be a wonderful Dad to your girls and always at our place willing to give a hand where ever we need it...or bug you about computer, phone, tv and car issues! Thanks for always being so loving! We love you!
That face is a double of your little Addy! May the force be with you!
You're a super Dad to these cuties....Hope your day is great!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

So It Begins...With Lexi!

Today our sweet Lexi-Lou turns 10..hard to imagine so much time has gone by.  But life's that way isn't it?  Time waits for no man or girl and soon you're in the double digits for the duration...unless you happen to hit the triple digits but I don't think I'll be around to capture the moment!  May is a big birthday month in our family with Lex today, her Daddy (Phil) on Monday, another Grandkiddo Katie on Thursday, another Grandkiddo, Summer on the 21st...and my Mom who'll be 90 on the 17th. Whew! Throw in Mother's day and you have a full month of celebrating.  But that's the best part of life...the celebrations and happy days.  Here's a few moments from Lexi's party last night.  We have a wonderful place called the Kroc Center.  It's the headquarters for Ashland's Salvation Army.  It has meeting rooms, gyms, laser tag and rollerskating and classrooms for after school day care and an outdoor water spray park and playground.  It's a great place to rent for parties.  The kids had a blast!
We walked into the party area to find a bunch of alien looking pods with kids inside of them rolling around and loving every minute!
We found our birthday girl inside one!
These are really a lot of fun for the kids.
Throw in a "jumpie house" and it's a party for sure!
The room was all set up for the gang.
Time for pizza and goodies to feed the hungry mob!
Present time!
She had giant donuts instead of a traditional cake.  She had to pull all her long hair back so no fire accidents!
She had a bit of a hard time with the candle part...they kept relighting! The kids laughed every time they came back on...poor Lexi! (She laughed too and loved it!)
Her sister, PawPaw, and Daddy enjoyed the evening too! And so did I.
Happy Birthday Lexi! We love you!